Special post today on "The Daily Button:" Cecile McPeak (the woman who started it all) talks about the beginnings of JABC and how she met Joan Hawley of Lazy Girl. This post is a companion post to today's Lazy Girl blog post, guest authored by Cecile.
What's in a Name?
Hello. Have we met? Let me introduce myself, Cecile McPeak, founder and creative director of Just Another Button Company™. A number of years ago at wholesale quilt market, I met Joan Hawley. I remember most her friendly smile and contagious laugh. Joan's booth displayed her Lazy Girl pattern line and she offered a pattern to play with button embellishment. While there have been occasional collaborations between Lazy Girl purse and JABC button, Joan has also become a friend and mentor. I consider being asked to be a guest blogger for her blog to be quite an honor.
At Just Another Button Company we like to say we are Fifteen and Fabulous to answer the phone--celebrating our fifteenth year in business. There is usually a pause at the other end of the line, just for a moment, then a chuckle, and quite often a remark like, "Yes, you certainly are."
In 1996, when we produced our first button embellishments, we were known as Just My Imagination. Within a year, we knew we had a good product needing a more memorable name. It was the peak time of button embellishment on wearable art. Every trade show had a multitude of button companies showing really handsome, often handmade, buttons. I should know. I bought lots of them for my personal stash.
There was a niche for our polymer clay buttons though. They were machine washable, thin and very lightweight, ideal for both wearables and decorative quilts, and for framed stitcheries. Yet there was a challenge; we heard again and again from wholesale buyers, "I can't buy from another button company."
The name was born. We became Just Another Button Company™. Business experts call it Crowdsource Branding--we called it making lemonade from lemons. Whatever it's called, it worked. Buyers took one look at the name, grinned, and asked to see the buttons.
A couple of years ago, we met a tough economic event with a new vision for buttons. What if we turned a button on its edge and drilled a hole there, rather than the two holes we normally placed on the flat surface? Drilled on the edge, then glued to a stainless steel sewing pin, the Just Pin was born.
Now we are exploring drilling all the way through to create beads.
Brooch by Charland Designs
Photo by Megan Chriswisser of Needlework Retailer
Fifteen years is long enough for a business to become established, and a very good time to make sure it is still fresh. To celebrate our fifteenth year, we are releasing 15 original pincushions as kits in 2011. Each kit is complete with JABC buttons, Just Pins, Weeks Dye Works wool and roving--everything but the needle and thread. The kits are easy to sell for any of our shops, no matter which needleart the shop features. We call them the 15 and Fabulous Celebration of Pincushions.
As our business has grown, I've watched Joan create her website, blog, Facebook page, and Yahoo group. I've sewn her Lazy Girl purses and watched her demonstrate zippers and rulers. She is fearless--TV even! I was inspired to explore all (well, most) of these marketing opportunities. With my sister, Heidi Carver, JABC Business Manager, and my daughter, Rachel Martin, JABC Buttoneer and blogger, plus all the other JABC Buttoneers, we are pleased invite you to see more of our buttons, Just Pins, and pincushions on our website, and follow our button adventures on Facebook and our blog.
Many, many buttons and fifteen years later we still regularly get comments from satisfied customers who say, "You are NOT just another button company." We just say, "Thanks."
And now, an extra-special giveaway: one lucky reader will win the pincushion kit of her choice from our "15 and Fabulous Celebration of Pincushions" series!
To enter, leave a comment below telling us the name of your favorite Lazy Girl pattern. If you haven't used one yet, tell us which one you want to try!
Leave your comment by Thursday, April 14th at 10:00pm central time and check back the next day to see if you've won!